Category Archives: Bigotry

A New Low: Trump’s Blood Libel

In the first year of the Trump regime, I revived the “your president speaks” feature. It’s a Bush-era feature that was brought back upon the inauguration of another president* who said weird and wacky shit. As the lies mounted, I drew back from the feature because most of the Insult Comedian’s statements weren’t funny any more. It’s hard to spin comedy gold out of the rancid bullshit spewed by Trump and his lackeys. It made me feel like Rumple-fucking-stiltskin’s evil twin so I dialed the feature back. I’m *almost* nostalgic for the days when the Kaiser of Chaos threw rolls of paper towels to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. Almost.

Trump’s latest major rhetorical outrage is neither funny nor surprising, but it’s so shocking that I feel compelled to write about it. Repeat after me: if we lose the capacity to be shocked, the Trumpers win.

I’m, of course, referring to crazy shit said by the president* on the stump in  Green Bay, Wisconsin where he replaced the Lambeau leap with the Trump stretch:

“The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully, and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.”

It’s not only a lie, it’s incitement speech.  There are not now, nor have there ever been, “executions” involving a mother and her doctor. These inflammatory remarks are analogous to the blood libel spread by the Nazis and their anti-Semitic fellow travelers. Here’s how the ADL defines the blood libel:

The “blood libel” refers to a centuries-old false allegation that Jews murder Christians – especially Christian children – to use their blood for ritual purposes, such as an ingredient in the baking of Passover matzah (unleavened bread). It is also sometimes called the “ritual murder charge.” The blood libel dates back to the Middle Ages and has persisted despite Jewish denials and official repudiations by the Catholic Church and many secular authorities. Blood libels have frequently led to mob violence and pogroms, and have occasionally led to the decimation of entire Jewish communities.

In this case, the blood libel is against women facing the worst moment imaginable and the doctors who are there to help them. Trump did not claim that evil pro-choicers use baby blood in some satanic socialist ritual but he might as well have. What does someone who “executes” a baby deserve? Lynching? Stoning? A second Trump term?

I take this personally. My wife is a medical educator. She and her colleagues try every day to instill ethical conduct in their students. I don’t recall hearing about a class in baby executions.

When I was young, most physicians were Republicans. They were against “socialized medicine” and wanted lower taxes on their earnings but were otherwise caring and compassionate people. In 2019, the majority of physicians vote Democratic. They no longer support the anti-science party, especially now that rabid anti-choicers denounce their OB-GYN colleagues as baby executioners.

Trump’s mouthing the most extreme “pro-life” rhetoric is, to be blunt, despicable. It’s a cynical exercise in rallying his base, which is another reason that it’s a blood libel. The facts and implications be damned. The president* just gave a green light to those inclined to attack abortion clinics. He’s big on giving a green light to extremists: remember the post-Charlottesville comments that will live in infamy. The people who chanted “Jews will not replace us” included some “very good people.” Yeah, right. #sarcasm.

In the 20th Century, there was a long running debate between two leading Hitler scholars, Hugh Trevor-Roper and Alan Bullock, as to whether the Führer was a true believer or a mountebank. That’s a fancy way of saying con man. In the end, it didn’t matter, the result was the same: war, genocide, death, and suffering. Hitler was a true believer, Trump is a mountebank. In this case, that may be worse, not only is Trump a con man, the only thing he believes in is his own awesomeness. That’s a crazy thing on which to base a political movement but it’s the putrid essence of Trumpsim. It needs to be extracted from our body politic like a malign tumor.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Back In The High Life Again

Mesas In Shadows by Maynard Dixon

I had a stupid kitchen accident this week. The sink was full-ish so I decided to pour boiling water into an airborne/hand-held colander. I missed and mildly scalded my left hand. It hurt like hell for a day or so but barely qualified as a first degree burn. I did, however, feel like a first degree dumbass. It was not unlike being an honorary Trump.

I just finished reading John Farrell’s fine 2017 biography of Richard Nixon. I learned two positive things about Tricky Dick. First, he broke his arm as a young politician after slipping on the ice outside his DC area home. The break occurred because he held onto his daughter instead of bracing for the fall with his hands. Second, Nixon was a good tipper. He tipped 25% in the late Sixties when 10% when standard and 15% was a big tip. Hell has frozen over: I just said something nice about Nixon.

After last week’s sad theme songs, I decided to elevate the tone a bit. Back In The High Life Again was written by Steve Winwood and Will Jennings in 1986. It was a big hit; surely aided by James Taylor’s gorgeous harmony vocals.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Winwood’s chirpy original and a mournful interpretation by Warren Zevon, another wry and sardonic guy. We’re everywhere, y’all.

Now I want some Miller High Life, which is my favorite cheap beer. It’s even good enough for my beer snob/home brewer friend Greg. On that note, let’s take a swig of Miller, then jump to the break. Try not to spill any. Wasting beer is a sin.

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Axis Of Assholes

In his 2002 State of the Union speech George W. Bush denounced Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as an “axis of evil,” an inflammatory turn of phrase authored by David Frum. That’s right, the Frum who can be seen on your teevee as an anti-Trump conservative. He writes for the Atlantic Weekly now and still hasn’t topped the line that began life as “axis of hatred.”

In 2019, we face a corrupt, malevolent, and egomaniacal axis of assholes. They’re scattered across the globe, but the bull goose assholes are Bibi Netanyahu, Donald Trump, and Crown Prince MBS aka Mister Bone Saw seen above holding hands. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

The United States may be the most powerful country in the terrible troika, but Netanyahu is the powerhouse; both mentoring and setting a bad example for the Insult Comedian who aspires to Bibi’s level of malevolent malakatude. That makes Bibi  the Mr. Bad Example of the axis of assholes:

Netanyahu just won a scorched earth re-election campaign in which he demonized his opponents, the media, and the Israeli Arab minority. As depressing as it is for those of us who remember the Israel of Ben-Gurion, Meir, Rabin, and Peres: it’s Bibi’s country now. The Israeli left is dead as is the two-state solution. Netanyahu continues to transform Israeli democracy into a system akin to apartheid era South Africa or Jim Crow era America.

The Kaiser of Chaos aspires to Bibi’s level of strongman dominance. What’s not to love about a guy who was re-elected while under threat of indictment? Mercifully, Israel’s multi-party system makes that feat difficult to replicate elsewhere but the Trumpers are hoping to follow in Bibi’s sleazy footsteps.

New Yorker honcho David Remnick wrote a perceptive and must read post-election piece, The Trump-Netanyahu Alliance. These excerpts capture the zeitgeist of the axis of assholes. The he in question is Netanyahu but it could just as easily be Trump:

Practicing a politics of division, he targets enemies in the press, the academy, and the courts. Increasingly, he finds his global allies in the ever-growing club of the Illiberal International, from the Sunni Arab leaders in his own region to Viktor Orbán, in Hungary; Jair Bolsonaro, in Brazil; and Vladimir Putin, in Russia. He has determined that the world no longer cares very much about the Palestinians or about democratic niceties. He has marginalized the left––even the center-left. The “peace camp” that [Bibi’s father] Benzion loathed now barely exists.

<SNIP>

Just as Netanyahu provided Trump instruction on the political possibilities of right-wing populism, Trump has provided Netanyahu with instruction on the possibilities of outrageous invective, voter suppression, and disdain for the law. Netanyahu now delights in the use of such phrases as “fake news.” Investigations into his financial adventures are “witch hunts.” To suppress the Arab vote in last week’s election, his supporters mounted more than a thousand cameras at polling places where Arab citizens ordinarily vote, the better to intimidate them. And, of course, both men like a wall. As Trump put it, “Walls work. Just ask Israel.” To which his proud mentor tweeted, “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”

The axis of assholes sticks together. Neither Trump nor Netanyahu found the murder of Jamal Khashoggi objectionable and took MBS at his word that his regal hands were clean, not blood-stained. Liars tend to believe other liars.

There’s a lot of saber rattling in the direction of Iran right now. Since distraction is the only thing Trump is good at, there are well-founded fears of a “wag the dog” attack on Iran. I think the Trump regime is likely to sub-contract any such attack to the Israelis and Saudis because bombs are expensive and the president* is a cheapskate. Iran is why the leadership of those once bitter foes have converged. The Bibi-MBS nexus of the axis of assholes almost makes one nostalgic for bad old/good old days in the Middle East. The Palestinians must be.

It’s beyond ironic that the leader of the Jewish state has formed such close bonds with two anti-Semitic leaders but “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is the rule in that region. It should matter that Saudi Arabia was rhetorically pro-Nazi, but it doesn’t. It should matter that Donald Trump’s Archie Bunker-style philo-semitism is fundamentally anti-Semitic but it doesn’t. All that matters is power.

The only good thing about the axis of assholes is that it’s likely to be ephemeral. People like Bibi, the Kaiser of Chaos, and Mister Bone Saw invariably turn on one another. Cannibalism is part of assholery at this level of malakatude.

Speaking of cannibalism, the last word goes to Paul Kantner and Grace Slick:

Nielsen Cancelled

Remember when important political developments rarely happened on the weekend? It wasn’t long ago but the Current Occupant must be the center of attention at all times. It’s exhausting, y’all.

Sunday’s big news was the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. I would call her the latest Trump dignity wraith but she lost whatever dignity she once had by serving as Team Trump’s point person on immigration.

Nielsen leaves behind a legacy of shame. Caging babies, then lying about it was her modus operandi. Nielsen’s apologists claim that she restrained Trump from doing even worse, more extreme things but who gives a shit? The things she did were bad enough; some of which may have risen to the level of genocide. Things invariably get worse with each change in Trump regime policy and personnel, especially where immigration is concerned. Shit, meet fan.

President* Trump may be the man without  a plan but White House aide Stephen Miller has one. And he’s carrying it out by engaging in a purge at DHS. Just what we needed: this crypto-Fascist in charge of our immigration system, and the Secret Service to boot.

Nielsen’s apologists  tell us that she was a bureaucratic technocrat. So was Adolf Eichmann who was also adept at caging human beings. The “just following orders” defense didn’t work for him and it shouldn’t work for her.

Stephen Miller is in charge of the immigration system: Shit, meet fan.

Steve King Can Go Fuck Himself

The King of Bigots is at it again, and this time it’s personal:

[H]ere’s what FEMA tells me: We go to a place like New Orleans, and everybody’s looking around saying, “Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to help me?” We go to a place like Iowa, and we go see, knock on the door at, say, I make up a name, John’s place, and say, “John, you got water in your basement, we can write you a check, we can help you.” And John will say, “Well, wait a minute, let me get my boots. It’s Joe that needs help. Let’s go down to his place and help him.”

I don’t want to say anything derogatory about Iowa flood victims. They’ve been through enough trauma. They don’t deserve to be dragged into a political argument by one of their elected officials BUT this is such bullshit.

People in New Orleans after the storm and federal flood were just as determined to help their neighbors as the “nice white Midwesterners”  represented by the King of Bigots.  Does he think that Iowans will turn down government assistance when it’s offered? Of course not and they should not.

We all depend on the kindness of strangers after a disaster. It doesn’t matter if you’re white or black or a Democrat or Republican: people should give you a hand up instead of a kick in the head. It wasn’t right when New Orleans flood victims were used as political pawns and it’s not right if the same thing were to happen in Iowa. Unfortunately, the Trump regime has already set a pernicious precedent in Puerto Rico. I sincerely hope that federal and private aid to Iowa and other flooded area is dispensed without regard to politics. Iowans shouldn’t suffer because one of their Congresscritters is a white nationalist moron.

One more thing: Steve King can go fuck himself. I can’t say that often enough.

People Are Such Assholes, I Am Exhausted

Nope. Nope nope nope. Just made a donation to The Night Ministry in honor of these pricks because I cannot with “poor gay children near my park will ruin my life” right now:

In a question to The Crib’s leaders, parent James Walsh echoed the sentiments of several parents who — in any other neighborhood — say they likely would have supported the idea of a youth homeless shelter.

“I think everybody in this room thinks the Night Ministry does amazing work,” he said. “(But) you’ve searched for two years, and you couldn’t find a space that isn’t a stone’s throw from an elementary school? And a stone’s throw from a kid’s park? … I’m not trying to be a NIMBY alarmist in this situation. I’m really not. But it seems like it’s right on top of it.”

Some members of the crowd clapped as Walsh went on to press The Night Ministry leaders on logistics.

Before anyone can come at me with WELL WHAT IF IT WAS YOUR KID’S SCHOOL, lemme just tell you my kid regularly gives her bags of crackers and applesauce pouches and pocket change to the guys panhandling on the train because she’s a generous kind child, and in 20 years of living where we live I have had exactly zero real problems with the homeless people we’ve encountered, so I see no reason to beat those instincts out of her.

I’m far more worried about her frequent interactions with judgy racist holier-than-thou suburbanites, to be honest.

What if it was your child? Well, what if my child was homeless? What if something happened to both Mr. A and myself and she was on the streets? What if she was addicted, if she was alone, if she was scared? What if she rejected us, or we didn’t know where she was, and all we had to cling to was the forlorn hope that someone somewhere was taking care of her? Would I want her to have a safe place to go, in a neighborhood near a park and a school instead of in some industrial shithole, where she could lay down her head?

Fuckin’ A right I would and people need to put themselves in that position more often because it takes startlingly little to fall from grace these days. I am beyond exasperated by anybody who thinks they’re safe right now. How? How can you be that clueless?

The earth is caving in and so many people are trying with their own two hands to keep it all together, and we don’t have time for this kind of petty selfishness. We don’t have room to be threatened into a giant hissyfit over a shelter that holds 20 kids, most of whom are gay and are on the streets because their mean-ass families kicked them out. Come the hell on. Focus here.

You don’t want to do the work, fine. Not everyone has to have the same cause. But you can’t then refuse to make space for the people who do. That’s not a level of control you get to exercise over a world this out of whack.

A. 

Malakatude Update

Unless your memory is shorter than retired hoops star Muggsy Bogues, you surely recall Gooldloe Sutton who was 2019’s first malaka of the week. It was a popular post thanks to the good people at Crooks & Liars who linked to it in their Mike’s Blog Round Up feature. Jeez, I sound like an Oscar bloviator even though I skipped the annual snoozefest for the second straight year. I did not miss much apparently.

Back to the Klan loving small town newspaperman. He made more news the other day:

Now comes news that the 80 year old Sutton has retired from his management of the paper and will now “drink beer and sex young women.”

And that is not the most curious part of it. Sutton says he has turned the paper over to an African-American woman named Elecia Dexter, who he says has worked at the paper for a number of years.

This is story that justifies my long ago theft from Dave Barry of the phrase “I am not making this up.” I am not.

Well, you know what they say, it’s hard to keep a Goodloe malaka down.

Malaka Of The Week: Goodloe Sutton

KKK march on Washington, 1925

Goodloe Sutton is the latest in a long line of people I’ve never heard of who have emerged from obscurity to be “honored” at First Draft. He sounds like a mild-mannered small town newspaper editor but his name is misleading: Goodloe is a bad man who’s nostalgic for simpler, stupider times. And that is why Goodloe Sutton is malaka of the week.

Malaka Goodloe *is* a small town newspaperman but he’s anything but mild-mannered. His paper, the Linden Democrat-Republican, recently published an inflammatory editorial. It’s short, so here’s the whole damn, dim-witted thing:

Photograph via Montgomery Advertiser.

The story was broken by Melissa Brown of the Montgomery Advertiser in conjunction with the editors of the Auburn student paper, The Plainsman. They know malakatude when they see it.

I particularly like Malaka Goodloe’s claim that there were black Klansmen. It’s a feeble attempt to deflect charges of racism. It’s an epic fail.

Sutton’s paper is not online so it’s unclear if he’s written this sort of editorial before or if he’s yet another bigot emboldened by the Racist-in-Chief. He lives in a small town in Alabama near the Mississippi state line so neither possibility would shock me.

This editorial is Lost Causer-ism run amuck. The Klan sets fires, they don’t put them out. Back in the 1920’s, the Klan were kleptocrats, not krusaders against korruption. That whole K thing is, uh, katchy.

Malaka Goodloe should night ride home, watch The Birth of a Nation, then STFU. He won’t heed calls for his resignation: he owns the paper but decent folks in his area should find another news source. 1925 called and wants its editorial back. And that is why Goodloe Sutton is malaka of the week.

The last word (image?) goes to the movie originally known as The Clansman:

Rally Round Getting Rid of the Flag

I was in a beach store in Florida in December the last time I saw confederate merch. It was the kind of place full of polished shells and mugs that looked like sunburned bodies, and I was trying to talk myself out of buying overpriced tchotchkes for Kick. Turned the corner and BAM, a bunch of beer coozies with the stars and bars. Like they were just another souvenir.

It felt like a slap, after the past couple of years we’ve had, and I’m whiter than a very white thing. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be a family out to the county fair for a good time, only to be confronted with something that basically says, “My aesthetic is that I like owning people.”

Last summer, I contacted officials at the Essex County Fair about their vendor policy and got hung up on. The policy on their website makes no mention of offensive merchandise — same with the Franklin County Fair site. The Saratoga County vendor handbook refers to “offensive writing/pictures/graphics” in a list of prohibited products.

Letitia James said, “Confederate flags are a tribute to a dark, hateful and painful past and have no place in our society beyond the history books. State-funded fairs and events should not be peddlers and profiters of this, or any other hateful paraphernalia.”

I’d love to see the fairs adopt a clear statement of principle like that, or like this: “Racist products are banned at the fair.” That wasn’t hard. Why are some people making it hard?

A.

 

Bleak News In Review

There’s so much going on right now that I don’t quite know where to begin. I’m tempted to crawl back into my Carnival bubble and not deal with the perennially bleak state of the world BUT we have space to fill since Michael F has been on vacay. Like Lassie, he’s coming home right now, I’m not sure if I’d cast Roddy McDowell to play him but what can I tell ya? End of obscure, even for me, movie reference.

You’re probably wondering where this is headed. Me too. I think I’ll just throw some shit at the wall and see what sticks. I realize that’s how the Trump regime governs but it’s an approach that works when it comes to blogging. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

When Did Virginia Become Florida? Virginia politics used to be staid and buttoned down. That presumption of staidness began to erode during the zany and corrupt administration of Bob McDonnell. Two statewide candidacies by the Lost Causer from Minnesota, Corey Stewart, confirmed the transformation of Virginia into Florida; only without Disney World. It’s gotten much Wilder than when the Governor of that name was in charge.

Doctor/Governor Ralph Northam is still clinging to office like a barnacle on the body politic. The line of succession is a complete clusterfuck:

  • Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax is facing such credible allegations of sexual assault that he’s retained the law firm who represented Brett Kavanaugh aka Justice Bro. I wonder if Fairfax likes beer?
  • Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring is next in line but he admitted yesterday to having worn blackface as a misguided youth. It seems to have been a thing for young white dudebros back in the 1980’s. I’m glad I didn’t get the memo.

Third in line is the Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, who is a Republican.

A Virginian active in Democratic politics described the situation as follows to TPM:

[Carolyn] Fiddler is now the Daily Kos’s political editor and an expert on state legislative politics. She warned that the sins of the leaders would end up damaging other Democrats who’ve worked decades to build up the party, cautioning that the scandals could upend Democrats’ hopes to recapture both chambers of the capitol — their first real chance at doing so in decades.

“Shit rolls downhill,” she said. “To say I’m nervous is a bit of an understatement.”

She’s not fiddling about. They’re in deep shit and sinking fast.

I have a long-term solution to this problem: end the one-term limit on Virginia Governors. If not for that, Terry McAuliffe would still be Governor.

Designated Survivor: Former Texas Governor and twice failed GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry was the DS in more than one way this week. The Energy Secretary is still a dumbshit but he was also the Trump regime’s designated survivor for the SOTU.

Rick Perry as president is a scary thought but it’s better than Wilbur Ross. At least Rick Haircut has a zany side, I bet Wilbur has never hugged a jug of maple syrup:

I doubt that Wilbur has ever hugged anything except his money.

The Cubbies Have The Ricketts: Baseball’s former lovable underdogs have a racist right-wing owner problem. It’s well-known that patriarch Joe Ricketts was a wingnut but we didn’t know he was stupid enough to send his more bigoted thoughts via email:

Major League Baseball and the Chicago Cubs moved to distance themselves from one of their own Tuesday, after the news outlet Splinter published a cache of racist emails sent and received by Joe Ricketts, the billionaire whose family owns the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field.

Many of the published emails, sent between 2009 to 2013, focused on a fear of Muslims and contained conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama. The false assertion that Obama, who identifies as Protestant, was Muslim and born outside the United States were prevalent in right-wing politics during his presidency.

In one email, Ricketts wrote to somebody identified only as S.V. that “Christians and Jews can have a mutual respect for each other to create a civil society,” but “Islam cannot do that.” He went on to write that, “we cannot ever let Islam become a large part of our society,” and that “Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy.”

Since email is involved I’m waiting for the rickety Ricketts clan to blame Hillary or Huma. Trey Gowdy is out of office, perhaps they can hire him to consult. BENGHAZI. BENGHAZI.

The Ricketts affair *almost* makes me nostalgic for former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott who got into trouble for saying stupid shit like this:

  • “Some of the biggest problems in this city come from women wanting to leave the home and work.”
  • “Sneaky goddamn Jews are all alike.”
  • “Only fruits wear earrings.”
  • “Everybody knows [Hitler] was good at the beginning, but he just went too far.”

That concludes this edition of First Draft potpourri. Since Michael F is off and we miss his wit and insight, he gets the last word with a Rick Perry image created in January 2017:

Oops.

Signs of the Times

FINE, let’s talk about that idiot Ralph Northam and how this whole flaming fustercluck could have been avoided had he been like, “Look, once upon a time I was an asshole, here is a picture of it, and here is how I have worked to remediate that and how you should do so as well.” Instead of waiting for someone to get mad enough to find it and do what was done with it. God.

(The fuckin’ moonwalk thing. Can someone please tell all white men everywhere during this Black History Month that there’s no particular virtue in saying every single thought that is in your head? I mean, Michael Jackson? STOPPIT.)

What I’d mainly like to talk about, besides the unending self-own that is Northam’s entire existence at this point, is the idea that “everybody” just did this in “the South” once upon a time. Everybody meaning white everybody, and the South being everything below the Canadian border apparently. Because it’s horseshit and we hear it all the time.

Yes, there was a time when fewer white people side-eyed you for putting on blackface and saying the n-word or having waiters cosplay as enslaved people or whatever. That doesn’t mean that time was okay. In fact, it pretty explicitly means that that time was garbage, and you’re not supposed to be proud of what you did back then.

“Literally everyone around me was also in blackface pretending to be in the Klan” is not an exoneration of you, in other words, it’s an indictment of everyone else along with you. The only way you think that shit’s exculpatory is if you exclude “everyone who isn’t white” from your definition of the people around you.

As Robyn so wisely points out:

It also obscures the fact that polite “white” society wasn’t as unified as we like to think around the concept of racism as an unequivocal YAY. If there’s one thing I’d like my fellow honkies to put to bed it’s this idea that there was a time when all white people considered racism to be okay and awesome, and then along came Martin Luther King and something something something, and the Civil Rights Act ended racism forever.

And everyone instantly knew that racism was no longer wrong, and this entire process took five minutes!

Because that means racism would be solved now completely (erm, no) and also that there were no abolitionists in the first place nor activists nor just people who recognized racism for what it was before the tide of public opinion in polite circles turned.

It erases the Freedom Riders, and people who worked for human rights before 1968 (hell, before 1900), and people who were just generally decent and didn’t have it in them to mock and degrade other human beings.

It makes overcoming racism something you can only do when it’s polite to do so, rather than when it’s hard, and it seems like everyone else in the very white room you’re in is looking the other way.

A.

The Northam Minstrelsy Mess

A familiar line of defense has emerged in the Ralph Northam minstrelsy mess: YOUTHFUL FOLLY. Unfortunately for the Virginia Governor, he was a twenty-five year old medical student when the offending, and offensive, yearbook picture was published. Since this is NOT the NFL, I hereby throw a penalty flag on the youthful folly defense. I also wonder *why* the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook published a picture of that dastardly duo in 1984. The current head of the med school wants to know as well and has launched an investigation.

You know things are bad when being the blackface dude is not as bad as the alternative. After initially admitting that one of the bozos in the picture could have been him, Doctor/Governor Northam changed his story. Like so many politicians in trouble, he violated the first rule of holes and kept digging. His denial included this astonishing admission:

“That same year I did participate in a dance contest in San Antonio in which I darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume,” Northam told the crowd of reporters, later joking that it is difficult to get shoe polish off your face. “I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that.”

Northam said that he won the dance contest, and when a reporter asked if he could still moonwalk, he look around to see if there was space to show off the dance move.

He paused after his wife jumped in to say it was an “inappropriate circumstance.”

One could say Northam used a backhoe to keep digging his hole. The mere thought that it would be okay to  moonwalk at his Saturday presser should be grounds for resignation in and of itself.

Northam’s press conference was supposed to begin the healing process whereby he could stay in office but it had the opposite effect: all of the recent past Democratic Governors, Wilder, Warner, Kaine, and McAuliffe have called for Northam to resume the practice of medicine.

The good news is that Northam now seems open to quitting if he can longer be effective as Governor BUT he has not resigned as of this writing. To say he can’t be effective as a Governor leading a multi-racial state party after the minstrelsy mess is an understatement.

As wingnuts are fond of pointing out, the Democratic Party *does* have a checkered past when it comes to race, especially in places like the Commonwealth of Virginia. BUT those days ended when a Democratic president from the South passed major civil rights legislation and Richard Nixon became the candidate of the white backlash. Democrats are now the anti-racist party and need to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to blackface minstrelsy and other examples of  the misguided humor of youtful folly. The election of Donald Trump and the rise of white nationalism in the GOP has made that even more imperative.

I believe Northam when he says that the 2019 edition of Doctor/Governor Northam is not a bigot and that he’s done many good things over the years. I believe he’s sorry about the picture on his yearbook page. BUT he forfeited any chance at being forgiven for his youthful folly when he crawfished on whether or not he was one of the pinheads in that yearbook picture. His hole is now a crater.

A quick resignation from office is also in Northam’s self-interest. He can retain at least a shred of dignity by cutting his losses. It’s time  for him to “jump Jim Crow” out of the governor’s mansion. Let’s hope he does it today.

Just Kids

I was eight, maybe? Nine?

At the shopping mall, because it was the 1980s. With my aunt.

We were sitting by some kind of fountain or courtyard. There were lots of little kids jumping and playing, chasing each other, their voices echoing off the tile floors and metal furniture. I don’t remember why some of them bothered me, whether they bumped into me or I just saw them and didn’t like them, but they bothered me somehow.

And I turned to my aunt — both of us so white as to be transparent, in case you’re new here — and I said, “Look at those little colored boys running around.”

I’d heard older relatives use that word. I’d heard the tone of contempt in their voices when they did it. I mimicked both, no, I said it. I was old enough to know better and I said it meanly.

“WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”

My aunt grabbed me by the shoulder. I’ll never forget the look on her face. She dragged me to a chair and got down to my level and she asked me a question I couldn’t answer then and certainly can’t now.

“Who do you think you are? You think you’re better than them? Why, because they’re black and you’re not?”

She was fuming. Exasperated. But somehow sad, too.

“You don’t call people ‘colored.’ That’s a terrible thing old people said a long time ago. They prefer African-American. And you don’t talk about people that way, ever, no matter what they look like or what they’re doing.”

She adored me. I was her tiny little princess who she spoiled and indulged. I’d never seen her angry at me before but she was angry then.

It’s been more than 30 years and I think about that moment all the time.

I thought about it again yesterday: 

In video footage that was shared widely on social media, one boy, wearing the red hat that has become a signature of President Trump, stood directly in front of the elder, who stared impassively ahead while playing a ceremonial drum.

Some boys in the group wore clothing associated with Covington Catholic High School, an all-male college preparatory school in Park Hills, Ky., near Cincinnati.

High school kids surrounded and intimidated an elderly Native American man and laughed while they did it.

The wingnutsphere is in full cry already, and the kids’ “defenders” are out there talking about how somehow the old man started it, or that the video doesn’t tell the whole story, or that they’re just stupid kids and everybody was a shithead in high school.

Public shaming is getting out of hand in this country and more often than not, we aren’t getting the full story. Anyways, it’s time we as a nation learn not to judge others when you and I are nowhere near perfect. We need to forgive because we’ve all said and done dumb things in our lives, especially when we were their age.

Probably lots of kids are stupid. Lots of kids are shitheads.

But that’s the point.

When they do shit like this, you correct them and you educate them and you for the love of God don’t make excuses for them and then turn around and scream about how the elderly Native American man they were taunting “started it” because then they learn nothing.

Yelling at adult MAGA chuckleheads is beyond pointless. They’re out there cheering for this, they’re past changing. But some of the kids might not be.

Unless the only response by the adults in their lives is to pretend their kids did nothing wrong.

This is bad reporting. Those that were there said the man approached the kids beating his drum and even joined into the kids as well as they did to his beat. Disgusting what the AP did with this. If you notice the man is smiling as the Indian does the “stare down” done during the ritual. Jeez.

I think about my aunt and the mall when kids do stupid, racist things. I think about the time I came home from school laughing because somebody called somebody else a faggot and I thought that word sounded funny and my mom explained why it wasn’t. I think about the people who took the time to knock my ass down when I spoke out of turn or presumed or overstepped.

I think about how long it took me to be grateful for those times.

Would she have done me any favors, my aunt, had she simply shushed me? Had she made sure nobody heard, and then muttered darkly about the “PC police” and “the media” setting up “good kids” to look bad? Would that have, in any way, prepared me for the world we live in now?

 

If they’re “just kids” that means there’s a chance they could turn back from this.

The adults in their lives egging them on and defending them are the ones who are irredeemable.

A.

Republicans In Disarray

It’s been a bad week for the president* thus far. His wildly unpopular shutdown enters its 27th day, he’s been mocked for serving cold hamberders to jocks from Clemson, and his administration* has been leaking like a sieve. The stories about his NATO-phobia and Interpretergate have been particularly damaging as well as damning. It’s been an excellent week, however, for Putin’s plan to foment chaos in what used to be called the free world. We’ll just have to keep on rockin’

Enough of the Insult Comedian, let’s talk about *other* Republicans in disarray. Two past malakas of the week have been in the news: Steve King and Chris Christie.

The Same Old Racist Iowa Cornholer: Emulating Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy is shocked, shocked to learn that Steve King is a bigot. Based on his legendary “untrustable in hungria” comment, McCarthy is not the brightest bulb in the lamp. He’s also not very observant: Steve King was a racist long before he was stripped of his committee assignments.  I wrote about it in a 2017 post called King Of The Bigots and Trip Gabriel of the Failing New York Times has compiled Steve King’s Greatest Hits. What a long, strange Trip it’s been.

Perhaps Kevin hadn’t noticed before because his head is so far up Trump’s ample rump that he’s been blind to King’s racism. It’s a lame excuse: King has been saying this shit since he was a member of the Iowa lege. This quote comes from 2002, when the Trump presidency* was just a bad dream:

Mr. King, in the Iowa State Senate, files a bill requiring schools teach that the United States “is the unchallenged greatest nation in the world and that it has derived its strength from … Christianity, free enterprise capitalism and Western civilization.”

The Congressman from next door Metry and past malaka of the week, Steve Scalise, has been too busy selling books and pretending NOT to be a more politically viable David Duke to notice King’s bigotry either. Scalise prefers code words to raw naked hatred but he’s guilty of Renault-ism as well:

The King of Bigots took to the House floor yesterday to defend himself:

Dolts like King always twist history to justify their words and actions. Many abolitionists were racists and preferred emigration and separation to integration and equality. I wonder if King has ever heard of Liberia.

The only reason Republicans stripped the bark off King’s committee assignments is that House Democrats voted to rebuke the Iowa Cornholer’s latest statements. The vote was 424-1. And the no vote came from Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush who thought the House should censure the King of Bigots.

Let’s move on to our next example of Republicans in disarray. The post title feels slightly illicit since it mocks a million such stories about Democrats in Tiger Beat on the Potomac aka Politico. Perhaps I’ll win the morning.

Governor Asshole’s Revenge: There’s a consensus out there that the Trump regime operates like a mob family. I’ve even given him a wise guy name: Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto.

The man who wanted to be Clemenza to Trump’s Godfather has written a book that verifies the old Sicilian adage “revenge is a dish best served cold.” I wonder if the dish is pizza? I happen to like cold, leftover pizza for breakfast. I’ve also been known to hold a grudge.

Back to Christie’s upcoming tome, Let Me Finish. Yesterday, the Guardian published an exclusive article about the most explosive parts of the book, which involve the Governor Asshole/Slumlord Jared blood feud:

Christie blames this key player[Kushner] in the president’s inner circle for his ignominious dismissal shortly after Trump’s election victory in November 2016. Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, writes that Kushner’s role in his sacking was confirmed to him by Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chief, in real time.

As Bannon was carrying out the firing, at Trump Tower in New York, Christie forced him to tell him who was really behind the dismissal by threatening to go to the media and point the finger at Bannon instead.

“Steve Bannon … made clear to me that one person and one person only was responsible for the faceless execution that Steve was now attempting to carry out. Jared Kushner, still apparently seething over events that had occurred a decade ago.”

The political assassination was carried out by Kushner as a personal vendetta, Christie writes, that had its roots in his prosecution, as a then federal attorney, of Charles Kushner in 2005. The real estate tycoon was charged with witness tampering and tax evasion and served more than a year in federal prison.

Apologies for the long quote but I couldn’t quite channel my inner Mario Puzo or David Chase this morning, so I let the Guardian guys do it for me.

I’ve missed having Governor Asshole to kick around. I’m glad he’s publishing an *almost* tell-all book about the Trump regime. I say almost because he’s softer on Trumpberius than on anyone else:

At his first meeting with Trump in 2002, at a dinner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in New York, Trump ordered his food for him. He chose scallops, to which Christie is allergic, and lamb which he has always detested. Christie recalls wondering whether Trump took him to be “one of his chicks”.

At another dinner three years later Trump told the obese Christie he had to lose weight. Addressing him like one of the contestants in Miss Universe, the beauty contest organisation that he owned, Trump said “you gotta look better to be able to win” in politics.

Trump returned to the theme of girth during the 2016 presidential campaign, exhorting Christie to wear a longer tie as it would make him look thinner.

Christie hates lamb? Fuck him and the long red tie he rode in on. Was that a bridge too far? Nah, in the immortal words of Bobby Bacala:

No, Bobby, I don’t. It’s what I do.

There’s one more example of Republicans in disarray. Chinless Mitch may be preventing a vote on re-opening the government but he lost a vote yesterday, which had to be one of the most newsworthy Tuesdays in history. One could even call it Christie Gras.

The Oleg Deripaska Sanctions Blues: Team Trump wants to lift sanctions on the Russian oligarch to whom Paul Manafort owes millions of dollars, Oleg Deripaska. 11 Republican Senators joined Democrats to stop this move in its tracks; one of whom, to my great surprise, was Gret Stet Senator John Neely Kennedy of Neelyisms fame. As Neely himself might put it, even a blind pig finds an acorn sometime. Boy howdy.

This was a preliminary vote: they need 2 more GOP votes to stop Mnuchin’s folly but any sign  of Republican disarray is inordinately pleasing. Props to Chuck Schumer for organizing this mini uprising. He’s showing more backbone since Nancy Smash became Speaker. Keep it up, Chuck.

That concludes this episode of Republicans In Disarray Theatre. The last word goes to the Gin Blossoms who have anthropomorphized disarray.

Punching Above Her Weight

I was an agnostic on the subject of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez until recently. She ran a great primary campaign against a complacent incumbent but she’s a freshman, which gives her little to no power. That, and my opinion of her, changed when the conservative media began its campaign to elevate her. That was not their intention but their idiotic and downright hysterical attacks on AOC have transformed her into one of the stars of the class of 2018. Holy unintended consequences, Batman.

Thus far the flying monkeys of the far right have attacked AOC for:

  • Being factually challenged. Compared to Trump, she’s Norm Ornstein.
  • Being a bartender. So much for the dignity of work. Besides, her former vocation has given her the ability to out-shout and out-heckle her enemies.
  • Going by the nickname of Sandy while in college. They seem to think this should be a hanging offense. Oy, just oy.
  • Dancing and looking vaguely goofy on a video from her college days. Her response was to post a video showing herself dancing into Congress. Dance shaming did not work.
  • Taking a selfie of her bare feet whilst bathing. This was debunked by foot fetishists at something called Wiki Feet. I am not making this up.
  • Calling Trump a racist. That’s called telling the truth.
  • Rush Limbaugh called her “uppity” not long after Ed Rollins dismissed her as a “little girl.”  Perhaps she should be more like Butterfly McQueen as Prissy in Gone With The Wind.

The result of these ludicrous attacks has been to dramatically raise her profile. Typically, rookie Congresscritters aren’t interviewed by Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes. One could call that encounter AC meets AOC. She even has her own acronym: talk about branding.

AOC is a helluva counter-puncher. Thus far, her responses to her critics have been pitch perfect. She’s a social media ninja who knows how to make her critics look small and petty. It helps that they are.

These bizarre and ineffectual attacks are rooted in the fear of strong women that pervades the political right. The attacks on AOC have empowered her instead of taking her down. They need a new playbook. White male hysteria isn’t working for them.

Speaking of white male hysteria, here’s how the great Dahlia Lithwick put it:

These men aren’t afraid of these women because they’re part of a movement, although they are. They’re terrified because these women are empowered professionals who have parlayed careers in institutions of power to become formidable political actors. Calling them uncivil or bad mommies or child-like isn’t effective when women are legitimate holders of high office—and yet, as we see, it continues in ever-more comically depressing forms. As Virginia Heffernan notes, “These moth-eaten virgin-whore tropes have become self-satirizing. If you think misogyny has faded since ‘Mad Men’ days, you’re wrong. In fact, as women pack the halls of power, it seems more virulent than ever, as conservatives convulse in fear at losing their old rubrics of control. They lash out more than Don Draper ever did.”

As a retired Mad Men recapper, I think Tucker, Rush, and their ilk are much worse than Dapper Don Draper. He came to accept Peggy and Joan as powerhouses. AOC’s critics are too busy fluffing Trump to evolve. Until they do, she’ll keep punching above her weight.

We conclude this episode of Dance Shaming Theatre with a little ditty from the Seventies:

No Plan, No Endgame

I didn’t get all the agita yesterday about Trump’s Oval Office speech. It lived up (down?) to my low expectations. He’s a terrible, and worse, boring speaker without an audience. To quote the man himself, it was low energy. Additionally, nobody except his hardcore 25-30% believes anything he says. The only people capable of being hoodwinked already wear pointy hoods in private.

Nothing Trump said last night matters. It was his greatest hits with a dull delivery. It’s hard to cry wolf when you look ready to nod off at a moment’s notice.  He made absolutely no news, which made the speech an exercise in futility. It was also an exercise in distraction. The Trump regime is slowly but surely circling the bowl and they know it:

Trump’s aides fear he has given himself no way out. “The president put himself in a box,” the former official in touch with the White House told me. “The problem is there’s no endgame. Right now the White House is at a seven on the panic scale. If this thing goes on past the State of the Union they’re going to be at an 11.” Another prominent Republican close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described Trump’s handling of the shutdown as “total fucking chaos.”

That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

The box in question is his political coffin. In the article quoted above, Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman called the Mexican stand-off that is the shutdown, “Trump’s Alamo.” The president* is likely to identify with Davy Crockett, after all. Crockett was a peckerwood with a coon skin cap atop his head and Trump is an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head.

I’m convinced that the main reason Trump gave that lame racist speech last night is jealousy. The Democratic House is the bright shiny object in town and they’ve gotten tons of favorable media coverage. Trump not only thrives on the spotlight, he needs it. He’s afraid he’ll disappear if he’s not the center of attention 24/7/365.

Chuck and Nancy have become a formidable duo but the staging of their response last night was downright weird. It was summed up neatly by Herriman biographer and parade route book signer Michael Tisserand:

Others have compared them to the immortal hicks in Grant Wood’s American Gothic. They *were* stiff, but Nancy from Balmer and Chuck from Brooklyn are way too urban to be immortal Iowa hayseeds.

It’s time for people to stop thinking Donald Trump has supernatural political powers. He’s an unpopular president* whose party lost the midterm popular vote in a landslide. Last night’s speech was a dulled down distillation of his 2018 stump rants. It didn’t work then. Why would it work now?

The Trump shutdown shows the perils of winging it. House Republican leaders are worried that dozens of their members will rebel and support Speaker Pelosi’s efforts to reopen the government. At least four GOP Senators are making noises about reopening the government; one of whom is Colorado’s Corey Gardner who is already atop the Senate Dems 2020 hit list.

Trump lies about everything. He should take Chuck and Nancy up on their offer to reopen the government and debate the stupid wall later. Then, he could lie about it and declare victory. It would be a small lie by his standards. I bet them dead presidents would approve.

Is this Trump’s Waterloo? I’m not sure about that but he’s certainly circling the loo.

This is what happens when you cry wolf without a plan or an endgame.

The last word goes to Todd Rundgren:

We’ve Been Hurting People Forever

It’s so easy to focus on the new terrible things that we forget the old terrible things are still with us: 

Yellowman’s great-great-great grandmother was born on the eastern butte. Family members told him that her cradleboard, a traditional way to carry babies, was made from the pine trees on the butte. In the 1860s, Yellowman said, the U.S. government drove his ancestors from the buttes and later marched them to Fort Sumner, N.M., where they were imprisoned, part of a forced journey known as the Long Walk.

As a boy, Yellowman, who was born on a mesa in the northern part of the Navajo Nation reservation, often traveled with brothers and cousins to Cedar Mesa, a plateau near the base of the buttes, to chop and gather firewood.

He recalled driving past a uranium-ore processing mill one year that a Texas-based company had built on land leased from the Navajo Nation. It left him unsettled, especially as family members who worked in the mill began to fall ill and die. Today, toxic debris from the mill, which closed in the late 1960s, still litters the land.

One of the ways in which Trump’s administration and the GOP by extension are awful is that they take things that have already been fraught — what little land Native Americans can hold to, the experience of transgender people — and make it worse for no reason than to be small and mean. It’s just … mean. I run out of words for everyday atrocities frequently in part because, you know, we have the kids in the concentration camps too, but at the heart of it all is the meanness.

They’re just so damn mean.

A.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Crossfire

Hollywood was emboldened by the war against the Fascist powers to make more socially aware movies. There were two anti-anti-Semitism movies released in 1947: Gentleman’s Agreement and Crossfire. The former was a prestige picture directed by Elia Kazan, and starring Gregory Peck and John Garfield. It could be called a “Gentile savior” film as journalist Peck goes “undercover” and poses as a Jew. It won the best picture Oscar but has not held up that well. It’s a good but not great movie.

Crossfire was a noirish genre film that told the story of an anti-Semitic soldier played by the great Robert Ryan. It’s a tight, compact thriller with a fabulous cast: Robert Mitchum, Gloria Grahame, Sam Levene, and a pipe smoking Robert Young. It’s a 4 star classic and a much more effective tool against anti-Semitism than the more genteel Gentleman’s Agreement.

Here’s the poster. It has one of the best tag lines ever:

Let’s all go to the lobby and check out this lobby card:

Crossfire was adapted from a novel by Richard Brooks who was the writer-director of such classics as Elmer Gantry and In Cold Blood.

Hollywood improved on Brooks’ title. You can see for yourself:

I was mildly chagrined to lean that I  used Crossfire for PFT 6 years ago. I missed the Brooks book so this post is better. It’s what happens when you’re prolific and occasionally prolix.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Deportee (Plane Crash At Los Gatos)

Roots by Frida Kahlo

I’ve been following the horrific events at the US-Mexico border. After a few weeks of relative quiet on the caravan front, the Insult Comedian has ramped up the war of words in this fake crisis. He added a new weapon to his usual arsenal of hot air and bullshit: tear gas. Trump claimed that it was “very safe tear gas” but there’s no such thing, especially since they tear gassed babies. Exposure to tear gas has detrimental effects on childhood development. It’s some nasty shit. I was exposed to tear gas in the Paris Metro many years ago. I don’t recall what the protest was about, but I recall feeling woozy, raspy, and weepy for hours after being tear gassed. I guess it wasn’t the “very safe” kind that Trump is so proud of. #sarcasm

Trump’s ridiculous claim that tear gas is “very safe” reminds me of an encounter with one of my Greek Greek relatives. I called him Theo (Uncle) Panos but he was married to my father’s  cousin. He was a proud and boisterous man who had a small business making and selling taverna-type chairs in the Monastiriki district in old Athens. He believed that everything Greek was the best. It was one reason he and Lou got on so well. I’ll never forget dining al fresco one evening with Panos and his family. There were flies swarming and  I kept shooing them away. Panos laughed and said, “Don’t worry. In Greece, the flies are clean and very safe.”

This week’s theme song was written in 1948 by Woody Guthrie and Martin Hoffman in protest of the racist treatment of Mexican nationals who perished in a plane crash in Los Gatos, California. 32 people died: 4 Americans and 28 Mexican migrant workers who were being deported to Mexico. The media of the day listed the names of the dead Yanquis but referred to the Mexicans solely as deportees.

Sometimes the “crash” in the title is replaced with “wreck” but the song remains the same. Deportee (Plane Crash at Los Gatos) is one of the great protest songs and has been recorded many times over the last 70 years.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Woody Guthrie, Dave Alvin & Jimmie Gilmore, and Nancy Griffith.

Now that we’ve been deported, it’s time to jump to the break. We’ll try not to crash-land but I make no guarantees. Now where the hell did I put my parachute?

Continue reading

Mississippi Goddam

Source: Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Facebook page via the Bayou Brief.

I feel like an interloper to this story. Athenae wrote a slam-bang post about it yesterday and my friend and Bayou Brief publisher, Lamar White Jr. broke the story of Cindy Hyde-Smith’s bigoted comments. I also could not resist using the Nina Simone song for the post title. I know I’m not the first to do so, my friend Kat did it at Sky Dancing. I am a derivative motherfucker. I do, however, have talented friends.

While I’m giving credit where it’s due, there’s a remarkable piece in the Jackson Free Press by Ashton Pittman (names don’t get more Southern than that) that fills in many of the blanks about Cindy Hyde-Smith aka the Racist Lady. Nobody should be shocked that, not only did the appointed senator attend a “segregation academy,” she sent her daughter there. And yes, she was an elected official when her daughter matriculated. It doesn’t matter to prosperous white Mississippians. It’s what they do, y’all. Cannot mix with “those people.”

Another note about Lamar’s reporting. He tells us exactly who and what, Greg Stewart, the guy in the Facebook pictures with the Racist Lady, is:

In the early 2000s, Stewart was specifically identified as a leader of a recognized hate group- Free Mississippi- by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group went defunct, and as a result, it was de-listed by the SPLC. But you can still find his name on their database. He  served as the group’s “parliamentarian.”

You can also still easily find him on Facebook, where he makes it abundantly clear that he is very much still involved in the business of the Lost Cause. (Stewart enthusiastically supported Chris McDaniel in the general election and is now cheering on Hyde-Smith).

McDaniel is the arch teabagger and Lost Causer who opposed Thad Cochran in 2014. He’s also the creep whose supporter harassed the Senator’s elderly wife in her nursing home. I am not making this up.

Back to Cindy Hyde-Smith. I wish I could say that her racist remarks and inept campaign will defeat her but I don’t think they will. Her Democratic opponent, Mike Espy, is infinitely more intelligent and qualified to serve in the Senate. He’s also black and the vast majority of white Mississippians will never vote for a Democrat let alone a black Democrat. It’s the party of “those people.”

I’ve watched with amusement people who know nothing about the South opine on cable news about the Mississippi runoff. I saw one otherwise intelligent person say on AM JOY that Espy will win because there was not supposed to be a runoff in this race. Wrong. Chris McDaniel nearly unseated an incumbent Senator in the 2014 GOP primary. He only got 17% of the vote this time, in part, because Trump supported the Racist Lady in the first round. He’s still popular with white voters in the Magnolia state, alas.

What Cindy Hyde-Smith’s bigoted bumbling has done is to make the runoff closer than it should be. Republican political pros are nervous about the race but think she’ll pull it out after Trump rallies the peckerwoods later today. Their mantra is: “We don’t want an Alabama.”

They’re referring to Senator Doug Jones’ thrilling win last year in his race against Judge Pervert. I think that’s unlikely for reasons stated on the tweeter tube:

Alabama is NOT a progressive paradise but it has some big cities, a major medical research hub in Birmingham, and the rocket eggheads in Huntsville to partially offset the rural peckerwoods and rednecks. Also, Doug Jones is white. An African American candidate would not have beaten Judge Pervert, alas. The Bradley effect remains in effect in the South, as we saw in Florida where many white voters could not bring themselves to vote for Andrew Gillum.

I think Mike Espy has a good chance to get 45% of the vote if his GOTV effort is strong, otherwise he’ll hover at around 40%. If it’s the former, it’s a Beto-style moral victory. I hope I’m wrong and we wake up to an upset victory on Wednesday morning.

One thing that national Democrats seem to have learned this year is to CONTEST every race even those that look difficult. You never know when an inept candidate will talk about hanging or disenfranchising their opponents. In another state, those comments would have destroyed the appointed senator’s campaign. It’s a sign of progress that they damaged it severely. And in Mississippi of all places. Goddam.

The last word goes to the great Nina Simone: